The European country fining OAPs who haven’t had a vaccine

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  • Covid-19
  • Kyriakos Mitsotakis
    Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic

Watch: Greece to fine over-60s for refusing jab

Greece is to make coronavirus vaccinations obligatory for people aged 60 and over.

Under the new plans, pensioners will be fined €100 (£85) if they have not had a COVID-19 vaccine.

The measure is set to be introduced from 16 January and will be applied on a monthly basis.

There are about 520,000 people in Greece over the age of 60 who have yet to have a COVID-19 jab.

Read more: The countries making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory

About 63% of the country’s 11 million people are fully vaccinated.

Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the drastic move was necessary to protect the elderly.

"It’s the price to pay for health," he said.

ATHENS, GREECE - NOVEMBER 16: People pass by closed shops after many restaurants and cafes closed their shutters due to partial restrictions and rising costs in the fight against the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in Athens, Greece on November 16, 2021. (Photo by Ayhan Mehmet/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A man in a face mask walks past closed shops in Athens, Greece, earlier this month. (Getty Images)

"We are focusing our efforts on protection of our fellow citizens and for this reason their vaccination will be mandatory from now on.

"Greeks over the age of 60 who have not been vaccinated must, by 16 January, book an appointment for their first dose, or else they will face a €100 administrative fine every month.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 16: Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during their meeting at 10 Downing Street on November 16, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Daniel Leal - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Greece's prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has introduced mandatory COVID vaccines for those aged 60 and over. (Getty)

The prime minister did not elaborate on how the plan would be enforced. The average monthly pension in Greece is €730.

Mitsotakis said he had been “tortured” by the decision.

“But I feel a heavy responsibility in standing next to those most vulnerable, even if it might fleetingly displease them," he said.

Almost one million people in Greece have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year, while there have been 18,067 deaths.

Earlier this month, Greece introduced restrictions specifically for unvaccinated people, barring them from restaurants, cinemas, museums and gyms.

In Austria, a lockdown for about two million unvaccinated people was introduced about two weeks ago following a surge of COVID-19 cases.

On November 20, 2021 ten thousands protested in Vienna, Austria against the new covid measures in Austria such as a Lockdown for everyone and a mandatory vaccination for everyone. (Photo by Alexander Pohl/Sipa USA)
A protester in Vienna, Austria against new COVID-19 lockdown measures. (Getty)

However, the country brought in a nationwide lockdown just a week later, which led to widespread protests, some of which turned violent.

Thousands of people also took to the streets of Belgium and the Netherlands after COVID-19 restrictions were reintroduced.

The Netherlands has just begun a three-week period in which hospitality and cultural venues such as cafes and museums must close by 5pm.

On Tuesday, officials there said the new Omicron coronavirus variant was present in the country earlier than first thought.

Read more: 5 things we have learned about the Omicron variant

Omicron was detected in two samples taken in the Netherlands between 19 and 23 November, before the variant was identified by South Africa. It has not been established if those cases involved people who had visited South Africa.

A total of 14 people from two flights from South Africa to Amsterdam tested positive for the new variant, among 61 passengers who had COVID-19.

In the UK, prime minister Boris Johnson is set to lay out on Tuesday his government’s plans for tackling the Omicron spread through speeding up the booster campaign.

On Monday, the government announced that COVID booster jabs are to be offered to all adults in the UK.

On Monday, World Health Organization (WHO) director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, criticised vaccine inequality and said “no country can vaccinate its way out of the pandemic alone”.

Watch: Boris Johnson says UK needs to delay the spread of Omicron variant

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